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About our presenter… Long-time educator, activist and lawyer, Zahra Dhanani is the Legal Director for the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) , an agency that ensures access to justice for women, youth and children facing the threat of violence.
METRAC’s Workplace Justice Series Bill 168: Ontario's New Legislation on Harassment and Violence in the Workplace Presented by Zahra Dhanani Legal Director, Justice Program
"Safer for Women, Safer for Everyone" METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series Domestic Workers & Live-in Caregivers Experiencing Workplace Sexual Violence and Harassment Workplace Sexual Violence & Harassment METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series Women Migrant Farm Workers Experiencing Workplace Sexual Violence and Harassment METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series Women Temporary Help Agency Employees Experiencing Workplace Sexual Violence and Harassment METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series Women Health Care Workers Experiencing Workplace and Harassment METRAC’S Workplace Justice Series Exotic Dancers Experiencing Workplace Sexual Violence and Harassment
If an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence that would likely expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace, the employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.
In both cases, counsel for the employer urged the Board to refuse jurisdiction over the cases on the ground that a claim for sexual harassment was not part of the reach of the OHSA and because the Human Rights Code was specifically set out to deal with matters such as sexual harassment
In Lyndhurst Hospital counsel for the employer argued that while sexual harassment was not acceptable in the workplace, it was not covered under the OHSA and a legislative amendment would be required to properly include it within the scope of the law. Counsel argued that the OHSA was intended to address threats to physical safety and that if the Board accepted the proposition that sexual harassment was covered by the OHSA then there would be an obligation placed on employers to warn employees about the potential hazard presented by harassers; this suggestion was characterized by the employer as an absurd result .
Disabled women, Foreign, immigrant and refugee women workers more vulnerable due to:
● fear of job loss
● lack of access to information and
● linguistically/culturally accessible resources
Discrimination in the workplace environment clearly increases chances of other forms of
Workplace violence and harassment.
Women workers in precarious work situations often face other forms of discrimination,
● unequal pay,
● health and environmental hazards,
● poor living conditions,
● farm/factory accidents and,
● chemical poisoning.
"Safer for Women, Safer for Everyone"
Potential Responses "Safer for Women, Safer for Everyone" Workplace harassment and violence: 1. Keep a journal of what happens and tell your employer/supervisor 2. Make a complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission 3. Contact the Ministry of Labor Inspectors 4. File a complaint under the Employment Standards Act 5. Apply for compensation under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act 6. File a civil suit at a Small Claims Court
"Safer for Women, Safer for Everyone" Action Plan for dealing with sexual/physical assault: 1. Go to a safe place 2. Talk to a friend or call a sexual assault/rape crisis centre 3. Decide whether to report the assault or not 4. If a report is made to police, they will need evidence
"Safer for Women, Safer for Everyone"
Identified responses might not be accessible for the most marginalized women because:
Human Rights Commission may not review a case if a worker does not have a legal
status in Canada.
Foreign workers who report sexual violence or harassment are at risk of being fired which
could affect their immigration status
If the police find out a worker does not have legal status, they might still report the worker to
Toronto – “Don’t Ask” Policy is not a “Don’t Tell” Policy
Workers without legal status should consult with a lawyer/legal clinic before:
● filing a civil suit
● applying for compensation
If you would like to order METRAC’s Workplace Justice Series or other METRAC materials, please contact METRAC at Tel: (416) 392-3135 E-mail: [email_address] For online resources, visit www.metrac.org www.owjn.org
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